This opulent restaurant clings to the fine-dining standards of old. They still have a dress code— no jeans, no tennis shoes. Tables are set formally with crystal wine glasses, china, and knife rests. I recognized most of the people working the floor; our server has been working there for 28 years. Ask for a glass of Champagne and the sommelier appears. He delivers the order and describes how the glass is etched to induce the lovely bubbles to form a single line to the top. The temperature is 47 degrees, cool enough to quench but warm enough to take in the yeasty qualities of the wine. In early March, there were three dining options: a three-course option with a seasonal slant ($55), a three-course menu from their list of classics ($80), and a five-course tasting ($110). However, the menu options change frequently. We found all of the menus uninspired, almost dated, compared to what is going on in other kitchens in town.
 
But it’s the French Room, and I let the thought pass. I couldn’t, however, rationalize the worn edges I experienced. There were several holes in the linen tablecloth. More than half of the wine list has been slashed, and the remaining pages are still in the original plastic book; the hardware once inserted to hold them now dangled sadly. Most of the food was top-notch: the signature 2-inch crab cake was solid meat. A generous slab of salmon was tender and moist and served with a butternut squash risotto. But sous vide pork tenderloin ordered medium rare was dry and medium. The desserts are stunning, though. The Grand Marnier soufflé is world-class, and a crunchy chocolate hazelnut torte served with salted caramel ice cream restored my faith that, with a little facelift, this Dallas icon will remain the grandest dining experience in Dallas.

For more information about The French Room, visit our online restaurant guide.

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